India's largest and oldest outdoor marketplace Chandni Chowk is an amalgamation of several markets rolled into one. Chandni Chowk (Moonlight Square) is no longer a Chowk, but a large area of roads, streets, pavements, and footpaths with big and small shops. However, it has the same old rush, narrow lanes, and rickshaws making their way through the stream of people.
Chandni Chowk is in Old Delhi. The name is enough to locate it. Just don't make the mistake of taking a car there. Also, it is closed on Sundays.
Most of the tourists hire a rickshaw to take them on a tour of this enormous, bustling market as trying to walk around this place can be stressful and confusing.
This incredible part of Old Delhi gives you an insight into how local life in India operates. There is colour, there is poverty, there are dilapidated premises, and there are crowds (beware of pickpockets). There are vibrancy and feeling of tradition in the area as well.
It's interesting to see how residents of Old Delhi go about their daily lives. A rickshaw ride through the narrow laneways is a fantastic way to take it all in.
Be sure to look at the maze of wires overhead. Also, look for the monkeys on the upper sections of the buildings. You'll come away from this place, feeling exhausted if you take a walking tour.
The products have very cheap rates. But they are not for the brand conscious.
Most of the shops sell ethnic wear and are inundated by ladies. Replicas of designer lehengas are available at budget-friendly prices.
Following are the names of bazaars in Chandni Chowk-
Meena Bazaar, Maliwara Gali and Kinari Bazaar for saris and ladies suits
Ghadi bazar for watches
Dariba Kalan for gold and silver items
Bhagirath for chandeliers
China Market for electronic items
Nai Sadak for books
Chawri bazar for invitation cards
Khari Baoli for spices and dry fruits
Chor bazar for everything second hand
There are places of worship of all faiths: Temple, Gurdwara, Church and Mosque all on the main road of Chandni Chowk.
CC has plenty of options if you wish to grab a bite and take a break from shopping. Following are its most famous delicacies.
1. Parathas at Parathewali Gali (the alley of paratha makers) where they make more than 40 variants.
2. Daulat ki Chaat- A hawker sells this sweet and bubbly dessert only in winters.
3. Dahi Bhalla and Aloo Tikki at the Natraj Cafe
4. Jalebi and Samosas at Jalebi Wala which are all cooked in desi ghee (clarified butter).
The good old staple for Vegans, Haldiram's (which is now a chain restaurant), made its humble start from Chandni Chowk.
Happy eating in the gourmet paradise of North Indian street food!